by Mahmoud Fouly, Zheng Yihan
“We really appreciate the Chinese companies for this kind gesture. I tell all the Chinese people thank you and happy Ramadan for you and for the whole world,” said Mohamed, an Egyptian man in his early 40’s after having a fast-breaking meal (iftar) among hundreds of others at a charity banquet provided by Chinese firms in the country during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The flags of Egypt and China appeared side by side at a large banner on top of a tent prepared to host hundreds of fasting Egyptians at a massive charity banquet near the main Nasr Street in New Maadi district eastern the capital Cairo.
“China in Egypt Stone Material Association (CESMA) and the Egyptian Society for Integrated Development (ESID) invite you for iftar at charity banquet. Happy Ramadan!” read the large sign on top of the tent.
Ahmed, 32, said that he worked for one of the Chinese stone companies at nearby Shaq al-Ti’baan town and he expressed happiness with the food at the charity banquet after a long fasting day from dawn until dusk.
“I come here for the Chinese banquet everyday during Ramadan, and it is really nice and the food is plenty and delicious,” the man, who looked very tired, told Xinhua before having his iftar.
Chinese donor companies said that they were keen on contributing to the Egyptian society during the holy month of Ramadan and express unity and solidarity with the Egyptian people through such simple charitable activities.
“A lot of Chinese stone company businessmen have been working in Egypt for years and Egypt for them is their second home. So, they wanted to seize the occasion of Ramadan to show gratitude and appreciation for the local Egyptians,” said Amina Mi, CESMA deputy general-secretary, noting that her association collected about 300,000 Egyptian pounds (about 40,000 U.S. dollars) in less than a week to support these activities.
CESMA has been holding daily charity banquets in Ramadan since 2012 and the Chinese association is keen on sharing the Egyptian people their joyful occasions as a sign of appreciation for cooperation and interaction between the two nations.
The activities were not restricted to the Ramadan charity banquets but it also included gifts and boxes of necessary foodstuff including bags of rice, oil, sugar, etc, distributed by CESMA to the Egyptian people according to a socially-studies list provided by the ESID.
As for those poor people who live in remote areas who cannot afford coming to Maadi to receive the gifts or have iftar, CESMA rent buses to deliver them their gifts and foodstuff boxes at their doors.
“CESMA came to us and offered to help in charity in development. It was a very nice idea and we really welcomed their idea and we were very pleased to have this cooperation with charitable Chinese companies,” ESID Chairman Hanaa Ismail told Xinhua.
The lady explained that her society is public benefit organization with seven branches around Egypt, providing services and development for more than 7,000 families throughout the country.
Motivated by the spirits of goodness and benevolence prevailing in Ramadan, some Egyptian young people volunteered in the charitable activities out of their sense of duty towards the poor and keenness to stretch a helpful hand for their fellow Egyptians.
“I participated in this charitable activity because it is a good deed in service of the people. It’s not only me, but other friends also come along and help as much as they can,” said Karim, a 21-year-old student at Cairo University.
“It is kind of the Chinese companies to care for what the people need. It is a good gesture that we really appreciate and we hope they continue such a charitable work in the future,” the young man told Xinhua. Enditem